Tag Archives: Withlacoochee River

John S. Quarterman: Sewage spills in Georgia affecting Suwannee River basin, Gainesville Sun, 2019-01-31

Online today and in the paper Gainesville Sun this coming Sunday. To paddle the most-affected stretch of the Withlacoochee River, join us this Saturday morning.


A December upsurge of raw sewage spills from the city of Valdosta, Georgia, has a dozen downstream counties organized into a task force, demanding action from Florida state legislators. But what action?

I recommend first getting a grip on the extent of the problem, keeping that picture up to date and then funding fixes.

[Water]
Photo: John S. Quarterman of Sara Jay, Water Temperature, TGroupville Boat Ramp, Little River, 2019-01-06

Valdosta spilled not just twice, but two dozen times in December, totaling more than 6 million gallons of raw sewage. Spills also happened in Tifton, Quitman and Lowndes County, Georgia.

We know this because Continue reading

Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River, 2019-02-0203

Update 2019-02-02: Delayed a day until Sunday morning.

Water levels look good, so unless it rains, looks like Saturday morning we will paddle Little River from Troupville Boat Ramp, then the Withlacoochee River to Spook Bridge. We will probably encounter deadfalls and shoals, so bring a rope and be prepared.

That’s right, Spook Bridge, thanks to The Langdale Company, which has arranged for us to take out just below the bridge.

[Access and river, 14:47:36, 30.78981, -83.45175]
Access and river, 14:47:36, 30.7898100, -83.4517500

This is not public access. Langdale is making it available to WWALS for this February outing and for Paddle Georgia in June 2019. This takeout, while still up a steep riverbank, is much easier than climbing up those loose highway abutment rocks between the US 84 highway bridges. So I hope everyone will thank The Langdale Company.

See previous post for outing details. Continue reading

Wastewater at Valdosta City Council, Winter 2018-2019

While the Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties is looking for something to do to help, Valdosta clearly hasn’t yet done enough to stop its sewage spills, but they are doing more. Here’s some context that may indicate what might help. Spoiler: water quality monitoring, funding for further fixes, and enforcement if necessary. Unless raw sewage spills really are what Valdosta wants to be known for in Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Totals, Table
See Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16″>

Also: come on up and talk to the Valdosta City Council. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson did, and it got their attention. They keep hearing from me for years now, and it helps to see somebody directly affected downstream come up and speak.

This post is mostly about two Valdosta City Council meetings, that included much discussion of the recent Valdosta wastewater spills, on on Continue reading

Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16

Water quality testing of drinking wells and rivers is needed, and not just when there is a spill. Maybe the state of Florida will help fund it. Or maybe Valdosta should. It doesn’t seem right that Hamilton County should have to pay for it.

Valdosta, Tifton, Quitman, and Lowndes County, December 2018, Table
For the WWALS automated updates on GA-EPD Sewage Spills Reports, see wwals.net/issues/vww/ga-spills/.

The main newspaper of Suwannee and Hamilton Counties, Florida, is getting into the act, but seems to only know part of the picture. Editorial: It’s time for support with sewage spills, The Suwannee Democrat, Jan 24, 2019, Continue reading

Sewage spills in the Suwannee River Basin 2015-2018

Update 2019-01-25: Added an HTML table of all spills in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia since the beginning of 2015.

WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter made this committee report to the WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting of January 2019:

The Science Committee has focused on monitoring sewage spills from Municipalities in the region. The primary data is the online database provide by the GA EPD. The agency regularly compiles spill volume, date, and, location across the state and posts the information on-line.

2015-2018 Valdosta sewage spills, Spills

WWALS played a central role in convincing EPD to provide this data in a timely manner and has regularly posted spill data on the WWALS website, wwals.net/issues/vww/ga-spills/. This a substantial improvement over prior reporting systems and is contributing to timely reporting of conditions that may adversely impact water quality and recreational uses of streams and rivers.

The following graph summarizes reported spill data in Quitman, Tifton and Valdosta and Continue reading

Cancelled due to cold weather: Banks Lake Full Moon Paddle 2019-01-21

Well, it’s never happened before, but the weather is too cold for WWALS to paddle. Expedition leader Shirley Kokidko says it’s not a good idea to take people out on the open water after dark, when the prediction is 42 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill feeling like 40 degrees. So she’s cancelled the full moon outing formerly scheduled for Monday evening, January 21, 2019, on Banks Lake.

[Boat light, double moon, 18:30:47, 31.0273566, -83.1061174]
Boat light, double moon, 18:30:47, 31.0273566, -83.1061174

Next: Our next scheduled paddle outing is Continue reading

Testing for firefighting chemicals in wells and waterways 2019-01-18

Those firefighting chemicals that leaked from Moody Air Force Base are on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Moody recommends private well owners contact their county representatives for information on testing personal wells.

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk and public information officer, said this is an opportunity for county residents such as Tann to have their water tested. Not only for PFAS but for any other contaminants that might be there.

Indeed, and Lowndes County operates the Moody AFB wastewater treatment plant that spilled into Beatty Branch and Cat Creek. So it’s an opportunity for Lowndes County to help organize testing for these per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), because testing for them isn’t nearly as simple or inexpensive as testing for other contaminants.

Reporter and photographer at Beatty Branch, 2019-01-07, VDT
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, nearby resident Debra Tann, VDT reporter Thomas Lynn and photographer Derrek Vaughn, at Beatty Branch, January 7, 2019. Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Debra Tann and I were back at Beatty Branch on January 7, 2019, this time with the VDT, about the firefighting chemical issue that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the first week of January. This time it was for local reporters. Moody neighbor wants water tested, Continue reading

Rochelle details, and Tifton spills at Agrirama Lift Station 2019-01-15

Tifton, and any other cities: if you keep spilling from the same place whenever there’s a big rain, maybe it’s not the rain that’s excessive. Maybe your sewage infrastructure is inadequate and you should fix it.

Map: Agrirama Lake, Spills
One day a week ago GA-EPD included latitude and longitude in the spreadsheet, with this for Tifton’s Agrirama Lake Lift Station: 31.464770, -83.530532, shown here on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

In yesterday’s GA-EPD Sewage Spills Report we have a little more detail on the 300-gallon Rochelle, GA spill: Continue reading

Quitman spill amount 2019-01-14 for 2019-01-03

Finally we see in the GA-EPD data from yesterday a total for Quitman’s spill of the third of January:

120,000 gallons of raw sewage, Diff

120,000 gallons of raw sewage. That’s far more than my previous guess.

Maybe you’d like to join the new WWALS water quality testing program. Or maybe you’d like to join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Let’s add up Quitman’s recent spills: Continue reading

Tifton spilled again into Agrirama Lake 2019-01-06

Yet again into Agrirama Lake, Tifton spilled 8,500 gallons of raw sewage yesterday (Sunday, January 6, 2019). And, finally, a number of gallons Valdosta spilled from its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant back on December 15, 2018.

Tifton (and Dekalb, Fulton, and Clayton Counties), Spreadsheet

As you can see, cities in the Atlanta Metro Area spilled more. And in the table below you can see many more of them spilled.

Not that that makes Tifton’s spill Continue reading